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‘I Fell in Love With Art There’: As the San Francisco Art Institute Closes, 5 Distinguished Alumni R


The San Francisco Art Institute. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The San Francisco Art Institute. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Last week, the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) announced that after the end of its current semester, it would suspend its degree programs, stop enrolling students, and close indefinitely, leaving open the possibility that the institution may never reopen.

In a letter sent to students, faculty, and staff, the school’s president, Gordon Knox, and board chair Pam Rorke Levy said they had tried to merge SFAI with a larger educational institution that could keep the art school intact and afloat, but discussions with potential suitors fell through as the coronavirus pandemic hit.

“At this time, it is unclear when instruction will resume, and in what form, pending our efforts to secure additional funding and potentially resume our talks with educational partners,” Knox and Levy wrote. Levy told the New York Times that the school’s total debt is roughly $19 million, a figure that will likely grow in the months to come.